The Baptism of Christ: “Respect the Union”

Mind The Gap

This last Sunday, many congregations observed “Baptism of Christ Sunday.”

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal (in Bryan, TX), Fr. Daryl Hay shared the story of Dr Margaret McCollum—grieving the loss of a precious voice that once encouraged folks riding the London Underground rail system to “Mind [or respect… pay attention to] the Gap [between the cars and the platform].”

A few external links may tell the story better than I can:

That story seated, Fr. Daryl went on to ruminate about God’s voice speaking over Jesus, there at the Jordan “station”: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

It’s a truth (for me, at least) that while “you can take the preacher out of the pulpit, you can not take the pulpit out of the preacher.”

So that, I found my mind playing with that metaphor in multiple ways:

  • Seeing and framing the words of the Old Testament prophets (or, at least, a significant portion of their words) as a message of “mind the gap”—observe, respect, pay attention to the gap (or the differential) between God and humanity.

  • But, then, seeing God’s words at the Baptism of Jesus as signaling a significant shift — in which the message, now, is “mind the union” (i.e., observe and pay attention to and respect and honor the union of God and humanity in Jesus)!

And we, who sit and wait with Jesus
there at the Jordan…
We find tears gently rolling down our cheeks.
A voice, a word,
once lost to our hearing,
has been restored…
and, with it, our consolation.


Postscript:
Not sure whether I’ll share this addendum with Fr. Daryl or not.
(Not sure whether I’d appreciate another preacher
saying something to the effect of
“hey, look what I did with your story!”)

But, maybe that’s the nature of preaching in and for all of us:
that Deep calls to deep in one
and ripples out from there into the depths of others—
becoming what each needs to see and hear.

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